WaterAid Liberia, in partnership with WASH Stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), has called on the government to strengthen the health care system through the provision of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene.The group made the call on Monday, August 8, in a joint communiqué addressed to the Ministry of Health. They want the government to give post-Ebola recovery for water, sanitation and hygiene the highest priority.Presenting the letter to Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Francis Kateh, the chairman of the Liberia WASH CSOs Network, Prince Kreplah, said the action by the group is intended to urge government to improve the health sector.Kreplah, however, commend the government for strides made to improve WASH in health care facilities across the country, adding that the government should exert more effort to deliver on its health and WASH promises.In response, Deputy Health Minister Kateh thanked WaterAid and WASH’s CSO partners for their continued work, and agreed that the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are crucial to the health care delivery system of the country.Dr. Kateh, who is also the nation’s Chief Medical Officer, appealed to Liberians to take their health seriously, especially when it involves water.Following the presentation of the letter to the Health Ministry, a press conference was held to address key health and WASH issues.The Chairman of the Liberia NGOs Network, George Kayah, commended the government and development partners for steps taken to improve WASH and health care delivery but noted that despite these efforts there still remain serious deficiencies in water, sanitation and hygiene in rural communities, hospitals and clinics.WASH Coordinator at the Health Ministry, Wataku Kortima, disclosed that the government has put in place WASH protocols to ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene play a key role in the country’s health care delivery system.He urged collaborative efforts among CSO actors as well as Liberians to ensure that challenges affecting the health sector are resolved. The Health Ministry has started the training of health care workers on WASH protocols and the essence of WASH in health, he added.Speaking on behalf of the British Charity WaterAid in Liberia, Program Effectiveness Coordinator Samuel Quirmolue indicated that WaterAid will continue to support the government and local partners in the sector to improve WASH and make it accessible.Meanwhile, a baseline report released on water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities in 2015 found out that about 95 percent of health care facilities do not meet the Ministry of Health’s standards on water quantity for all purposes.More than 50 percent of health facilities do not have a protected year–round source of water, and 20 percent do not have any protected source on site.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) Chairman, Devanand Ramdatt, is very concerned about what he describes as the poor state of the regional health-care system.According to Ramdatt, basic medications are not available at hospitals and health centres in the region. He is contending that the $40.9 million state-of-the-art operating theatre being constructed at the Suddie Public Hospital is way behind schedule, and this is costing tax payers millions of dollars to transport patients to the public hospital in Georgetown for surgery and other health services.Additionally, the chairman is contending that the doctor’s living quarters constructed at Wakapao has been completed in 2017 but still cannot be utilised.“We are now going into 2019, and for (lack of) simple furnishing, the resident doctor cannot occupy the building, and (has) to travel for miles each day at her own expense… Also, ‘Lady J’ Mobile Dental Boat Service, which was built to service the people in the riverine areas, is not working.”He explained that due to technical problems the boat is not functioning, but said that while a public-spirited citizen had offered to help resolve the technical problem, the Regional Health Officer (RHO) and the Regional Executive Officer (REO) are yet to put systems in place to have the dental service resume.Minor issues have caused two of the region’s ambulances to be not working, Ramdatt added. He said Essequibians are losing faith in the regional health care system, and he feels this is because of poor management. He added that if projects are monitored and completed in a timely manner, the situation would improve.According to Chairman Ramdatt, Region Two has millions in savings, which can be used to resolve issues in the health care system, but priority is given to parks, gated communities, planting of palm trees along the entire Essequibo Coast Public Road, and flower gardens among other non-priority matters.